SERVICEMEN, women and veterans who have fought back from life-changing injuries will saddle up to compete in the world’s first para-polo match in Tidworth next week.
The match, which will take place at the town’s polo club on June 1 as part of the Best of British Polo event in aid of Help for Heroes, has been organised by David Cowley in thanks for the assistance and support Help for Heroes provided his son Nick and his family when Nick was injured.
He said: “We are excited to be involved with such an extraordinary charity and are very grateful both to them and to Tidworth Polo Club for their enthusiasm and support for such an important day in the polo calendar. Spectators will be in for an epic eyeful of the best polo as the player’s battle it out in style and in such a beautiful setting.”
One of the players will be Elaine Corner from Amesbury, who served for more than 25 years in the Army including tours of Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.
In March 2011, she was involved in a motorbike accident that resulted in back injuries and having her left leg amputated below the knee.
During her recovery, the Help for Heroes sports recovery introduced her to polo.
She said: “It is fabulous that the polo world has welcomed and supported us.”
The inaugural para-polo match, called the Heroes Cup, will see injured personnel play alongside members of the army team.
It forms part of a fourth showcase polo event presented by Best of British Polo.
The Duke of York’s Cup (Royal Navy v Royal Air Force) will kick the day off, followed by the Heroes’ Cup, and finally the Best of British U25 match, featuring eight of the top young names in British Polo, where the teams will be battling to win the Hattingley Valley Trophy.
Martin Colclough, head of sports recovery at Help for Heroes, said: “The freedom and exhilaration the Help for Heroes para-polo team has gained from playing polo up until now is fantastic to see.
“The influence the sport has on the mental and physical health of someone who has suffered life-changing injury or illness makes this - and all adaptive sport - incredibly valuable.”
Tickets and information at wbestofbritishpolo.co.uk.